For the big Chicago journalistic event of the year, I tell my wife it’s time to dress me.
That big event would be the annual Studs Terkel-award reception, where my distinguished colleague — the great Mick Dumke — is being honored.
And when I say my wife’s dressing me, I don’t mean she’s literally putting the clothes on my body, as fun as that might be.
No, I mean, I want her to select my attire because I don’t trust myself to come up with a color-correct ensemble. I’ve learned this after a lifetime of putting together mismatched shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
Furthermore, we agree I don’t want to embarrass myself by looking schleppy in a large assemblage of my peers.
So before she goes to work, she lays out what she wants me to wear — the pants, jacket, shirt, shoes and belt.
Actually, I’m not sure about the belt. I’ve never seen it before.
But it is laying across the shoes. Why else would she leave the belt on the shoes if she didn’t want me to wear it?
Whatever — on goes the belt and to the show I go.
And what a great show it is!
So let’s give a mighty Third City shoutout to Thom Clark and his gang at the Community Media Work Shop. They got dancing girls and everything.
Don’t really have dancing girls.
I see all sorts of old friends I haven’t seen in years. Meet lots of nice new people. Plus, I get out in time to watch the Bulls put a whooping on Miami.
All together now: Thank you, Johnny Luke!
And: Fuck the Heat!
Anyway, when my wife sees me she says: “Why are you wearing my belt?”
And I say: “What’s the matter with this belt?”
“It’s a woman’s belt.”
“It’s my belt — you’re wearing my belt.”
I look at the belt. Now that I think about it — the buckle does look a little, oh, feminine.
Immediately, I take the offensive. “Why would you put out your belt for me to wear?” I ask.
“I didn’t put it out for you to wear.”
“Yes, you did — it was on my shoes….”
“It just happened to be next to your shoes. Can’t you tell the difference between a man’s and a woman’s belt?”
At which point my younger daughter walks in.
“Dad, why are you wearing mom’s belt?”
“I thought this was the belt I was supposed to wear.”
“Couldn’t you tell it was a woman’s belt?”
At which point, my daughter calls out to her friend who’s in the other room: “Hey, Kyleigh — my dad’s wearing my mom’s belt.”
Well, as long as they’re entertained, I’m happy.
Here’s the thing. I wore that belt all night at the big journalistic event of the year. And no one — absolutely, no one — mentioned that I was wearing a woman’s belt.
So either they were thinking without saying: Dang, that dude’s into some kinky shit.
Or they didn’t notice.
Well, it was a room filled with journalists. Let’s be honest, none of them would know the difference any more than I did.
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